This week ahead, Michelle Betham’s Striker (Book 1 in a trilogy) is re-published on Harper Impulse. Having been friends with Michelle for a while now and having been a big fan of this trilogy (still anticipating the final part), I’ve always been curious how she came up with the idea for her football themed romance, the characters and the locations.
Well now, I know.
I’ll let Michelle tell the rest of you…
Fiction From Reality
The main character in ‘Striker’ is bad boy footballer Ryan Fisher – how did I finally decide on the perfect name for this fictional soccer star? Well, I suppose the name Ryan was on my mind because, for some reason, I’d been thinking about Ryan Giggs at the time of putting these characters together. I don’t think there was any particular reason for that, I can only imagine I was just subconsciously going through footballers’ names in my head, and I like the name Ryan. Where did Fisher come from? No idea. It just seemed to go well with Ryan, so it stuck, simple as that!
The main female character in the book is called Amber Sullivan, and she’s a sexy sports reporter with attitude. Why Amber? I’ve just always liked that name. And I didn’t want her to have an everyday kind of name. I wanted her to have something that stood out, just a little bit. And as I had a clear picture in my head of how I wanted this character to look – she’s tall, beautiful, highly ambitious, and just a little bit fiery at times, so the name Amber really suited her.
American-born football manager Jim Allen is another main character who plays a big part in the ‘Striker’ books. And there is actually a reason why I chose the name Jim for this character. At the time of me planning this first book in the ‘Striker’ trilogy I was watching a programme called ‘Person of Interest’ starring the fabulous Jim Caviezel. His character in the show, John Reese, was such an inspiration for the character of Jim Allen, and I think that’s the reason the name Jim stuck for my football manager.
As for the locations of these books, they’re all real, ranging from Newcastle in north east England to the Spanish Canarian island of Tenerife, London to the bright lights of Las Vegas. But the fictitious football teams mentioned in the books are all just that – fictitious. Newcastle Red Star is the team Ryan plays for and the team Jim manages, and that’s the main club that’s mentioned throughout all three books. And I decided on that name because I wanted the city of Newcastle to be featured somewhere, making it clear that Ryan is coming back to his native north east to play for a local club. But I also wanted the colour red to be involved somewhere as a nod to the help I received from Sunderland AFC during my research for ‘Striker’. They play in red and white, my husband is a huge Sunderland supporter… I had to have red in there somewhere! But I also had to spend a lot of time Googling these fictitious football club names, just to make sure that they didn’t exist. You’d be surprised at how many of my ideas actually were real football teams!
The characters in the ‘Striker’ books are, however, all figments of my imagination. I have been asked if Ryan Fisher is based on any real-life footballers, but he isn’t. In all honesty there isn’t anyone out there who could even come close to Ryan, but, I did get a lot of help in creating his personality, his problems, his way of life from reading a book called ‘I Am The Secret Footballer’. After reading that – it was written by a Premiership footballer who lifts the lid on what it’s really like to be a top flight player – I knew there was nothing I could make Ryan do, nothing I could make him be that would be too far-fetched. So if you ever read the ‘Striker’ trilogy, and you think, even for one moment, that something was, maybe, a little too unbelievable… it isn’t. Believe me…
Striker Book Blurb
This summer, it’s time to play dirty…
Amber Sullivan is an ambitious, beautiful and feisty Sports reporter for a local TV news programme. With an ex-professional soccer player for a father, she’s grown up in and around the world of premiership football, and boy does she know better than to get mixed up with the men who play the game. As rich and charming as they are, Amber has a strict no player rule.
One of the biggest names in football, Ryan Fisher is young, hot, and talented. He has it all – looks, fame, money; not to mention women falling at his over-insured feet and a lifestyle he’s in no hurry to give up.
At the centre of a multi-million-pound transfer deal back to his home club, Ryan’s a big scoop for a local sports journalist and Amber can’t afford to miss this career-making opportunity – even if that means having to interview the cocky sports star.
But once the tape starts rolling it’s clear Ryan’s got more than just an exclusive on his mind… and he’s used to getting exactly what he wants.
Delving into the lives of those who live and work within the so-called Beautiful Game, ‘Striker’ is a story of sex, secrets and the true cost of fame.
Footballer’s Wives meets Jackie Collins in this sizzling scorcher of a summer read!
Buy Links: (Available to pre-order – Release date June 5th)
You can also follow Michelle on Twitter @michellebetham
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And follow her blog – http://michellebethamwriter.blogspot.co.uk
Thanks again for being a guest on my blog. I can’t wait for the final part of the Striker trilogy and to see how it all concludes.